The confirmation hearing for Donald Trump's treasury secretary pick went off the rails Thursday when a Republican senator's joke about giving his Democratic colleague a "Valium pill" went down like a lead balloon.
"Senator Wyden, I've got a Valium pill here that you might want to take before the second round," Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) said, to some laughter from those in the room. "Just a suggestion, sir."
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) responded by asking Roberts to keep his remarks "brief," citing the number of senators waiting to address treasury nominee Steve Mnuchin.
"I'm going to be very brief," Roberts said. "Mr. Mnuchin, from the distinguished ranking member's remarks, I understand you were in charge of the great recession."
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) then interrupted.
"Mr. Chairman, Mr. Chairman, I hope that that comment about Valium doesn't set the tone for 2017 in this committee," he said. "I like Senator Roberts. But I can't quite believe that he would say that to a distinguished senator from Oregon."
"I said that to the president of the United States at one point," Roberts retorted.
"Perhaps you did. But I would hope that that doesn't set the tone for the session," Brown said.
Roberts and Brown then shouted over each other until the committee chairman intervened.
"The relationship we're building is so different from this," Brown said. "This is just outrageous."
"I don't know about outrageous," Roberts replied. "I think just a little pinprick of humor might help this committee from time to time."